Beat the Teacher Sunday Scaries | 6 Tips to Have a Better Monday

The TeacherVision advisory board shares how they spend their Sundays so they are ready to teach on Monday. If you're experiencing the "Sunday Scaries," this is a must-read for taking back your weekend.

teacher sunday scaries

Does This Sound Familiar?

It's Sunday night. You didn't grade that stack of papers and still need to finish your lesson planning. You need to figure out what meetings you should go to, and there are emails to answer. You have yet to do half of what you wanted to do with your weekend.

Lastly, you want to go to work on a different day than Monday. If you only had one more day, right?

We get it. Seriously we do. It's natural to feel this way. If you feel guilty about this line of thinking, please don't. Sunday nights can bring strong emotions of anxiousness and apprehension for the upcoming week. Some of us punish ourselves with a lack of preparedness. But today's teachers are doing more work than ever before, and it feels like we are just trying to stay afloat.

We need our weekends to rest up and unplug from teaching so we have the energy to teach at our best. I have never met a teacher who didn't feel at least a little bit overwhelmed Sunday night. Being in this state of emotion on Sunday could lead to a stressful week and not performing at total capacity.

6 Tips to Have a Better Monday

So, we asked the TeacherVision advisory board members to share their Sunday night routines and non-negotiables. It doesn't matter where you teach in the world; teachers and educators have a common community. We help each other in any way, shape or form and pass on what we have learned.

Teacher Tip #1: Prep Friday So Sunday Is Yours

"My Sunday routine is to do nothing school related! I know it's tempting to rush out as soon as possible on Friday, but I prefer to put in the time then to plan for Monday, make copies, tidy my room, write Monday's date on the board, etc. That way, I don't have to go to school over the weekend and am ready to go when I arrive Monday morning." - Sara McCarthy.

Teacher Tip #2: Prioritize With "Must Dos" and "May Dos"

When I was in the classroom, I sat down on Sunday nights and created a to-do list for the week. Next to each item, I put the phrase "must do" or "may do," depending on my deadlines and the importance of each item. There was never a week where I got through everything, so this process helped me prioritize and made my to-dos more realistic, given the time I had to tackle them.

Teacher Tip #3: Meal Prep

"If I meal prep on Sundays, it helps me feel ready for each morning, so I'm not rushing to put together a meal and ensures I eat well. I'm a terrible teacher and far less productive when I get hangry!" - Mikaela Prego

Related article: Holiday Self-Care: Getting the Most of your Breaks

Teacher Tip #4: Plan Your Outfits

Several advisory board members shared that they plan their outfits for the week or at least the first two days on Sunday. When I was teaching, I had a drawer just for teaching clothes, and I put together complete outfits, down to the necklace I was going to wear, and hung them up in my closet. All I had to do was get dressed, and I wasted no time putting together my outfit.

"We need our weekends to rest up and unplug from teaching so we have the energy to teach at our best."

Teacher Tip #5: Pack Your Bag

"I pack my bag Sunday night for Monday morning. I have a checklist of items I run through, including my computer and graded papers. Rather than rushing around trying to find things, all I must do is grab my bag, and I am ready to go." - Tara Dusko.

Teacher Tip #6: Relax Mind, Body, and Spirit

"Sunday is a time for me to do anything selfish. Whether it's going to the gym, getting a pedicure, going to an actual movie theater and eating my weight in extra-buttered popcorn and laughing until I cry, going for a long dog walk around my neighborhood, reading for sincere entertainment to keep up with my Book of the Month Club, or napping and binging all my favorite shows." - Sara Wiley.

Bonus Tip: Call a co-worker

"I enjoy many of the people I work with within the school. We have a "teacher crew," and we have dinner and drinks together every so often. But there are two teachers I call (or they call me) on Sunday, and we vent and help each other through our Sunday routines. It's relieving knowing I'm not the only one going through the Sunday Scaries. Talking with my co-worker also helps to put things in perspective and is part of my routine of getting into a courageous mindset." - Jasmine Guy.

Related resource: The Complete Guide to Healthy Habits for Teacher Self-Care

What is teacher Sunday Scaries?

The teacher ‘Sunday Scaries’ is a state of emotional turmoil that engulfs the minds and bodies of teachers on Sunday night. In simple terms, it's the anticipation of a new week of school the night before. Teachers live weekly with grading, lesson planning, and preparing to teach the next day.

Now teachers are not the only ones who experience these dreadful sensations. Administration and students also get the Sunday Scaries. The education system can feel like a snowball going downhill, picking up more snow as it goes faster and faster. The ball finally stops when at the end of the year as it splashes in a sea of vacation.

What are some of the causes of teacher Sunday Scaries?

Inevitable (some avoidable) instances can initiate the Sunday Scaries. Some common causes are:

  • Having to grade assignments constantly
  • Last-minute lesson planning
  • Remembering to contact a parent about an issue with their student
  • Knowing you may go to work sleep deprived
  • Wondering when you are going to have more time to complete your teaching duties
  • Procrastination (given everything a teacher must do, procrastination is understandable)

Society asks teachers to do more and more each day. And there is only so much you can do without sacrificing your time. Even if you do not procrastinate, there is always something that your department chair or administrator will ask of you. It never stops.
What will be asked of you on Monday that you previously had not done? Such situations can cause a teacher to get a case of the Sunday Scaries. This anxiety needs to be released again and again. Allowing such stress to build will lead to burnout.

"I pack my bag Sunday night for Monday morning. I have a checklist of items I run through, including my computer and graded papers."

What is an excellent way to deal with teacher anxiety?

As teachers, the stress you experience can be excruciating and seem to have no end. Self-care has become an essential topic in the past few years, but until it's implemented during the school day, we must manage the best we can.

Here are a few ways school teachers can relieve their anxiety:

Exercising can be one of the best activities a teacher can do to help with stress levels. The key is to find the appropriate activity for who you are. Stretch your mind in this sense and look for the extraordinary.

  • Mountain Biking
  • Hiking
  • Rock Climbing
  • Swimming
  • Tai Chi

Of course, going to the gym and doing activities like weight training, aerobics, and cardio is OK. But everyone is different in what helps them relieve stress. You find your place of strength when you find the activity that gets your blood flowing, gives you control and clears your mind of work.

Peace and mindfulness are great states to be in to eliminate anxiety. Begin relieving your stress by going to a "quiet place." Brian Tracy, a world-renowned expert on human potential, said it is essential that humans "go into the silence." What he means is to find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed and sit undisturbed for 30 to 60 minutes.

It will take some practice and time to get all the fidgetiness out of you, but when you can get past 20 minutes, you will come into a peace and serenity you have never known. Many answers that you've been searching for can come from exercise also. Going into silence does take practice. Many people will find it extremely difficult to disconnect from the world (turning off their cell phones) and try to sit still.

But it's essential humans find peace within themselves.

Connect with someone you trust and let out your feelings. Some people choose to see a therapist or a counselor for this. They do not want to be a burden to their family, friends, or even co-workers. But speaking with and being able to vent will help release any negativity or stress that you have.

Humans are emotional creatures, and emotion translates into energy. You must direct the negative energy to an outlet. If it is a friend, family member, or co-worker you choose to talk to, just let them know; you need to vent. Once you get out of your stress, you will have clarity on where to focus your efforts positively.

A few other ways to quell the scaries are to see what's trending on TikTok and social media, play video games and making sure you grab your Starbucks. Your free time is important, and you should protect it passionately.

Teacher life is different from other professionals. Special considerations are needed to help educators with their mental health. Teachervision has great resources explaining self-care for teachers and incorporating ideas into their day.

Conclusion

In many societies and cultures, Sunday is a day of rest. It's becoming more apparent that Sunday is just another workday for many of us. As great as the human body is as a machine, it needs its rest. As magnificent as our minds are at gathering, storing, and using large amounts of data, it needs time to reset. It's essential to take back Sunday and eliminate the teacher Sunday Scaries and get as much self-care as possible.

Teachervision supports teachers in every way possible, including our Self-Care for Teachers Hub. You can find resources that you can use immediately to help you conquer the teacher's Sunday Scaries and create a supportive environment in your classroom.

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